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C’est l’imagination qui a enseigné à l’homme le sens moral de la couleur, du contour, du son et du parfum. Elle a créé, au commencement du monde, l’analogie et la métaphore. Elle décompose toute la création, et, avec les matériaux amassés et disposés suivant des règles dont on ne peut trouver l’origine que dans le plus profond de l’âme, elle crée un monde nouveau, elle produit la sensation du neuf. Comme elle a créé le monde (on peut bien dire cela, je crois, même dans un sens religieux), il est juste qu’elle le gouverne.
It is imagination that has taught man the moral sense of color, of contour, of sound and of scent. It created, in the beginning of the world, analogy and metaphor. It deconstructs creation, and with materials gathered and arranged by rules whose origin is only to be found in the very depths of the soul, it creates a new world, it produces the sensation of the new. As it has created the world (this can be said, I believe, even in the religious sense), it is proper that it should govern it.
–Charles Baudelaire, Salon de 1859: Lettres à M. le Directeur de ‘La revue française,’ III: ‘La reine des facultés’ (1859) in: Œuvres complètes p. 1038 (Pléiade ed. 1961)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
Years it would take Jim Bakker to earn enough to pay his federal fine at his current job cleaning prison toilets:
Zoologists speculated that cannibalism among hippos might have led to an anthrax outbreak in Uganda that has killed at least 220 of the beasts. “I knew hippos were nasty,” said one anthrax expert, “but I didn’t know they went around eating each other.”
A white man in St. Louis was charged with punching a black man at a gas station after telling him to “go back to Ferguson.” “I’m going to let the authorities handle this,” said the victim, a former Major League baseball player, “but I’ve had enough of St. Louis.”
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